Friday 19 October 2018

Review sentences: journalist family

A family photo of Eugene Moloney. Photo: PA
A family photo of Eugene Moloney. Photo: PA

The family of an Irish journalist who died after being punched by a drunken street reveller has urged an overhaul of prison sentences for violent attacks.

Gary Burch, 21, of Kennington Close, Templeogue, Co Dublin, was handed a five-and-half-year sentence for the manslaughter of Eugene Moloney on Camden Street in Dublin city centre last year.

But Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the final two years and backdated the imprisonment to last December. Burch, a trainee mechanic and former amateur boxer, should spend less than three years behind bars for the killing.

Outside court, Mr Moloney's brother Sean said society needed to look at sentences given for unprovoked street attacks, while parents needed to check their attitude to children's behaviour.

"It can't go on. It's neither fair nor right," he said.

"We came here today to get justice for Eugene and the judge did her very best. She was clearly moved.

"When you looked at the other family you realise just what a sorry day it is for both families. Insofar as no amount of justice will bring our brother back, the other man's life is ruined."

Eugene Moloney, 55, from Co Donegal, began his career at the Irish News in Belfast during the 1970s and 1980s before moving to the Irish Independent in Dublin where he worked for more than 20 years. He had been freelancing for the Irish Daily Mail at the time of his death.

Judge Ring, her voice trembling with emotion at times as she delivered the sentence, recounted how Burch delivered the single fatal blow to Mr Moloney's head on the night of June 24 last year.

The journalist was walking home from a night out when a verbal row broke out between him and a group of younger, drunk men. CCTV footage showed Burch - who said he had drunk 10 bottles of beer and a couple of shots - strike Mr Moloney, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

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